Extent and Predictors of Enduring Mental Health in Childhood (Up to 14 Years): Learning from the Millennium Cohort Study
22 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2019More...
Background: Enduring mental health (EMH) is a new concept introduced by Schaefer et al and refers to a long-term state of not experiencing a mental illness (i.e. enduring mental wellness). No analysis using this concept has been undertaken on UK data nor specifically in the childhood years.
Methods: The present study seeks to consider the extent and predictors of EMH in children aged 9 months to 14 years who were part of the UK-wide Millennium Cohort Study (MCS). Data from 13,310 children (49.4% girls) from children at ages 9 months 3, 5, 7, 11, 14 years.
Outcomes: Less than half of children (41%) fell into the category of EMH, the rest had at least some periods of mental health problems. Factors associated with EMH included high income, home ownership, positive parent-child interaction and maternal mental health. Of particular note was the high association between good emotion regulation and intellectual capacity, enjoyment of school and EMH status.
Interpretation: This suggests that EMH is not the norm during childhood. Identification of the high association between both economic wellbeing and emotional regulation with EMH offer the opportunity for a potentially powerful combination of community and individual initiatives. These might include: tackling social inequalities, supporting positive mental health of the primary care giver, supporting positive caregiver-child interactions in the early years, enhancing school engagement, and strengthening the child's social and emotional skills, including independence, cooperation and self-regulation to prevent later mental health problems.
Funding Statement: The research was supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) North Thames at Bart’s Health NHS Trust. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.
Declaration of Interests: The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.
Ethics Approval Statement: Ethical approval for the MCS was received from a Research Ethics Committee at each sweep.
Keywords: mental health, children, cohort
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